Grant Bradley flies upstairs aboard an Emirates A380 from Auckland to Sydney.

The plane:

A five-year-old Airbus A380-800, the biggest commercial aircraft flying today.

Emirates has 85 of the super jumbos with another 57 on order. It operates four each day from Auckland and another from Christchurch.

Class: Business on the upper deck. On the indirect flights to Dubai there are 14 First Class suites, 76 compartments in Business and 399 seats in Economy
Price: Return flights (in November) are $1821.


Flight time: Three hours, 12 minutes after pushing back right on time.

My seat: 7K, at the front of the business cabin, by the window with a nice view along the wing. It's your own private space with an array of juices and water right next to you, heaps of stowage, a tablet-size control screen and 23-inch wide main screen. A grunty seat motor that gets it to horizontal in a Bolt-like 11 seconds and back upright in an impressive 13 seconds.

Fellow passengers: Mainly Aussie corporate types and more memorably a Kiwi/American who turned out to be a rabid Trump supporter after a few at the bar.

How full: A sprinkling in Business, just one in First. A good trip to be in Economy - it was about half full.

The service: Maybe the light loading helped but it was outstanding. This crew (24 in total) got the relaxed feel just right. Emirates makes much of its cosmopolitan workforce - on my flight they came from 17 different countries and spoke 18 languages.

Drink: The Moet was flowing for those who wanted it. The best spot to socialise is the bar at the back of the cabin. I was flying to Sydney to interview Sir Tim Clark - one of the founders of Emirates - who told me that in the early 2000s Airbus couldn't quite get its head around a bar, which takes the space of eight business-class seats. He talked a small team of Airbus staff in Hamburg into quietly building a wooden mockup to reflect his vision. So those who enjoy a quiet tipple and a canape in a bar at 38,000ft owe a toast to Clark and his team of willing German workers.

Food and Drink: An astonishing array of top-shelf liquor and non-alcoholic drinks on offer. For dinner I opted for a salmon entree and prawn main, just fine.

Toilets: Five of them for Business. Clean throughout.


Luggage: Up to 35kg in Economy, 40kg in Business and 50kg in First.

Entertainment: Emirates' inflight entertainment, ICE, has more than 2500 channels and free Wi-Fi , so endless options. Didn't get to see much of it on the all-too-short hop across the Tasman.

Airport Experience: Emirates opened a new lounge at Auckland Airport in 2011. It's spacious, there's plenty to eat and drink, plus it has showers (two each in ladies and gents) with gold accents and tan leather furniture in keeping with the look of the airline's lounges around the world.

Would I fly again: Yes. I know a bloke in the aviation sector who saves up and treats himself to one transtasman Emirates Business Class trip once a year. Worth considering and keeping your eye out for deals.